It’s sort of like a Tardis

I’m working on the final copy-edit of the new book (only one more step after this, page proofs, and then it’s done – finally, gloriously done) and so I only have a few minutes to spend with you today.  (You understand of course that this isn’t the way I’d choose it to be. If I were in charge, we’d just knit and talk about it all day.)

I was wondering just how I was going to spend those moments with you. I mean, the blanket proceeds apace, chugging along at a rather glacial pace – and I was thinking that it’s going really slowly. Really slowly, for anyone, not just me, and as I finished the row I was on, I realized at least  part of the problem, and knew that finally, there was something to say about this blanket. Something pathetic, something that makes me wonder if I need to start taking some kind of vitamin, but something, nonetheless.

The centre of this blanket is almost the "Smocked Lace" from Barbara Walker’s third treasury . (I love this book. It’s awesome, and the tidy hand drawn charts remind me how amazingly recent the revelation of charts are at all. I mean, this book is originally from  1978 – although this is the Schoolhouse Press version, reprinted in 1998) and contains the statement "Written out directions, rather than charts have been the rule in the United States however; and it is possible that we Americans have missed out on a good thing." Ms Walker goes on to explain the many advantages of this snazzy new system.  I knew perfectly well that charts were very new to North America – every pattern I had, even just twenty years ago was written out – even the most challenging lace, but somehow I had totally forgotten.)  In any case, it’s almost that lace, because I changed it a little bit, making almost all the wrong side rows simply purled.  The original had some slipped stitches in there, but when I started the chart I was working from memory, and forgot to put them in, and it turns out I like it that way. It also turns out that because I didn’t bother to check the stitch key, I used a totally different decrease, and I like that too.  (We will pause here to reflect upon how many stitch patterns have been created exactly this way – by screwing something up.)

I say "almost" all the wrong side rows, because this lace has two wrong side rows in the entire twelve row repeat that have something going on. They’re rows where everything is just purled, but there’s also a "smocking stitch", wrapped stitches that make it all pull in really fetchingly, and this is exactly the part of this stitch that I adore. You can tell, I suppose, because it’s the only part I’m faithfully reproducing, except… I’m not.

Every single time one of these two rows has come up, I have cruised across the row, purling it plain like all the others. At the end of the row I realize what I have done, and have to tink back all 195 stitches, and re-work the row.

Let me be perfectly clear.  I have not done this a few times. I have not done this most of the times. I have done this Every. Single. Time.  I have not got it right on any row at all. Furthermore, I have not even once remembered this or caught this mistake (despite vows, notes and promises to myself) part of the way through any row. Wrong all the way across. Wrong every time. It’s like I’ve somehow come to think that the instructions for this pattern actually include ripping out every sixth row while shrieking obscenities.  I believe I may be scaring the cat.

I just thought you’d want to know. This blanket might be moving slowly, but it’s got 1/6th more knitting in it than you think it does. 

415 thoughts on “It’s sort of like a Tardis

  1. LOL. I’ve done this a few times myself. It’s like your brain just refuses to cooperate….
    I can count to six … I CAN count to six!!!!

  2. And here you were worried you wouldn’t have any entertaining screw ups to tell us about!
    I did something similar on the lovely Koohaas hat. Every stitch is through the back loop on that hat, but every couple of rows I’d zone out and start knitting regular stitches. It usually took me a whole round to notice.

  3. Ah, knitting does like to keep us humble doesn’t it? I think it is to balance the times it also makes us feel so clever.
    Beautiful stitch by the way. This must have a wonderful texture. I love that for babies.

  4. Oh dear! Would a removable/locking stitch marker help? With a pattern like that I would put it near the beginning on the WS row that contains the smocking stitches and then get into the habit of counting the rows since the last smocking row. It’s the only way I can remember stuff like that.

  5. Very clever of you to make a post about it! At least, it is if your brain works in the same fashion mine does.
    If I had committed this many words to explaining my consistent mistake, I would almost certainly remember it the next time round!

  6. It’s like the mind is holding the unseen bit to the pattern, absolutely vital to the finished article… who are we to question? I find the easiest way thro is breathe and accept. This green vest I’m knitting? Obviously the pattern includes rework the neck 4 times and counting. These things are meant to be. Obviously. xx

  7. This has happened to me so many times now that I just go with the flow and do what my subconscious seems to want to create!! If you left out the wraps, how would the lace look? Is it possible the wraps will catch on little fingers or toes? As pretty as the wraps are, could they be a safety issue that your subconscious has caught onto? no pun intended…

  8. I’m off with Calvin and Hobbes, riffing on the joys of the word “smock.” Smock, smock, smock, smock, smock…

  9. ROFL!!! So it’s actually bigger than it looks?! This is my new favorite knitting term ever. I had a recent project like that… it was pissing me off to no end, so I put it aside and have tidily ignored it for a while because of all the work that’s not showing in it. Now I can pick it up and tell myself, “It’s Time Lord technology.” I LOVE you.

  10. Your civic duty is now to write the pattern out as a chart. It will be good for all of us.

  11. If it makes you feel any better, this reminds me of the very recent research that reassures us humans just how long it takes to create a habit (i.e. create some new kind of change). That time, believe it or not, is 66 days. That’s the magic number. If course in 66 days you’ll have that blanket knitted, blocked and bundled up around a baby, so let’s not worry about it (and in the meantime you can stop beating yourself up for repeatedly making the same ‘mistake’ – 66 days).

  12. Painful. I thought you’d say every 18th or 24th row. 6 is a kick in the knitting nether-regions. Perhaps posting it will break the curse.

  13. I’m making a sweater with a lacy 8-row repeat and the wrong side rows are all plain purl. I love those rows because I can sort of zone out and have a lovely time purling across and watch what’s on TV and not have to think and my brain really likes not having to think or look at the pattern. I know I’d be doing an awful lot of ripping back if I had to pay attention on the purl side. I’d probably have to highlight on my pattern the rows where I have to do something different. And add a few more choice words to my sailor’s vocabulary. Your blanket is lovely, and I love the texture.

  14. Oh. My. Word. I was thinking just the other day how sometimes my knitting is like a TARDIS because sometimes what looks like one hat/sock/various FO is actually two or three. (or more *sigh*) Thank you for yet again solidifying my place among the awesomeness that is the knitting world.

  15. When I was a new knitter I’d think, “Oh, that was a silly mistake that I’ll never make once I’m really good at knitting.” Now I am good knitter and I still make silly mistakes. In fact, I think I make MORE silly mistakes now because I have more confidence and don’t think I really need to check and recheck the instructions. Glad to know that I’m not the only who regularly practices tinking.

  16. Beautiful blanket 🙂 Don’t be so hard on yourself. We all have our Achilles heel… mine is starting the second tier of Entrelac. No matter how many times I do it, and I’ve even taken a class with Gwen Bortner (the author of Entree into Entrelac), I get confused and forget how. Every. Single. Time.

  17. There has to be something at work in the Universe that is trying to tell you something. Maybe it’s all that proofing, editing, and other reading you are doing that is mucking everything else up.
    Why do something once when you can do it over? Only when knitting can that put a smile on my face.

  18. It’s a beauty of a blanket to say the least. I’m lauging to myself about your tinking every single time on that same row. I went through something like this while making my first lace shawl from a chart. I started it easily 5 times and then proceded to screw up over and over and over. I learned that “lifeline” was ever to be my middle name and I will never knit anything ever again without them. Ever!
    I’m about to start a new lace shawl (color me masochistic)but I am aka Queen of the Lifeline!
    I hope you don’t (Keep on tinking!)

  19. Bwaa-haa-haa…
    Ooops. Not nice. Um…
    So sorry about having to re-knit every sixth row. (snort). It really is a shame (snork). I hope this doesn’t stop you from knitting this very pretty blanket (tee-hee).
    OK, all done. Maybe.

  20. Oh, the joys of lace! I recently finished a long (VERY long) lace border for a shawl that I knit for a friend who wanted to make the shawl but not the border. It was intricate knitted lace with no purling-back-across-the-row, but patterns and overs on the wrong side too; and I loathed every stinking second that I worked on it. It took forever, and I counted repeats and forced myself to knit 12 repeats every morning when no one else was awake, because if someone spoke to me, I would screw it up and would not be able to see where I screwed up so would tink back to where I knew it was OK. I had to make some pretty awesome other stuff to bribe myself with, so it wasn’t all bad. (“If you knit 12 repeats of that lousy border you can spend an hour working on……..whatever.”)I broke it down into how many repeats makes 198 inches, and so many repeats per day, and how many days until I’m done. GOD it was horrible and the day I measured it to find out that I had knitted enough to go around the shawl, I was beside myself with joy. I love lace, love knitting lace – just not THAT lace.

  21. Oh dear. Definitely bigger on the inside. But not in the fun Doctor Who sense…poor Stephanie! Maybe you will get a row right before it is finished!

  22. I’m with Alicia above me somewhere. I use a stitch marker when I can’t remember something like purling a particular row. And a bright sticky note on the pattern row before so you remember to place the marker maybe? For me, it’s better if the marker clashes horribly with the yarn, so I’m sure to notice it! But that’s just me. Good luck!

  23. Honestly, posts like this are sometimes the only thing keeping me going on a project. If you have adventures like this, then there is hope for everyone.

  24. I can’t wait to tell my husband that you shreik and make mistakes just like I do. I just finished frogging a cowl that was absolutely driving me nuts and my husband was telling everyone about my carrying on. The biggest problem here is that we are both retired, so my problems become his problems.
    Soldier on with your lovely blanket. I have switched to knitting socks for now to save my husband’s and my nerves.

  25. I am having a really BAD day at work today – The kind of day where I start thinking homicide. So thanks for making me laugh. I really needed it. FYI I have done that too. It’s like your brain gets into a loop and no matter how many times you tell it to follow the pattern it goes its own way. kind of like the cats I live with. They don’t listen to me either. TGIF

  26. Maybe the reason the pattern designer put things to do on the other 5 purl rows is so she could remember to do the pretty every 6th row?
    There is no way on earth I could remember to do something special every 6th row! I would need the marker on the row that I am comming to. Dr. Who that one!

  27. That’s pretty laughable! Your ability to memorize and speed through this lace pattern is working against you. I don’t quite have that confidence yet so I look at my chart at the start of every row – even just a glance – so my solution would be to highlight and star that row.
    I feel like making this suggestion because it came up the other day at my LYS and everyone thought I was genius but I’ve heard it elsewhere before. Count out five candies and eat one at the end of each row. When you see you have no more candies, you’ll know to do your smocked stitches. Slows you down enough to decrease mistakes and you get a constant dose of sugar!

  28. Never mind, Steph…..we have always loved you for your sparkling wit and sunny smile. We all agreed amongst ourselves years ago to overlook your…um…..mental lapses.
    We felt it was the only kind thing to do. And you have many, many other terribly sweet attributes that more than make up for your memory. >:-)

  29. I can guarantee you that even with the tinking you’re still going faster than I would. I keep thinking “someday when I knit a little faster….” I don’t know what I’ll do then, other than knit more things, but it will be really nice. Until then I’ll just dream about what it will be like when I grow up and live in awe of your skills and wit. 😉

  30. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you. I am no longer permitted to knit lace in my house because I am told that I am not a nice person when I do. It seems that I become a bit of a thug. Validation is a wonderful thing.

  31. You give us all hope. I have done this kind of thing myself with much less complicated patterns. I rarely swear in real life but it’s almost irresistible under such circumstances.
    It’s a lovely blanket-in-progress. Thanks for taking us along on the journey. Necia

  32. I have totally had patterns where I’ve done that. Also, I’m so happy that you also make science fiction references when talking about knitting. It makes me feel like slightly less of a freak to know another person in the world does it 🙂

  33. God…you make me feel good about every single stupid knitting mistake I make. Esp. the ones I make over & over & over, despite my vows not to repeat them AGAIN! I always do….Kathy :o)

  34. A row counter would help — if you remembered to use it! I’ve got an afghan in stasis because I could not remember to use the stupid thing and kept fouling up the pattern as a result! Definitely a project that had me barking invective in several different languages. . . .

  35. Have you noticed how many of us, your loyal readers, also are Dr. Who and Douglas Adams fans? Correlation between knitting and creative thinking???

  36. LOL, something similar is happening to me with the shawl that I’m making my mom. Except I am ripping out portions of EVERY row, EVERY time. I bet we’re shrieking the same obscenities. F@#%MF^&S*@! Does that sound familiar?
    Once I actually threw it across the room and screamed at it and left it there to rot and told the kids to not bother walking around it, and then actually cried for 20 seconds, picked it up and tried again. It’s as if I’ve never knit a lace shawl before. Egads, so frustrating!
    Anyhoo… I really, really LOVE the blankie. Mom may not let baby chew, spit up, or pee on that one it’s so beautiful. I love patterns that have a repetitive consistent look with a twist, it’s very soothing.

  37. I do a few patterns where one row is “different”. I hook together my locking stitch markers, with a different color for the different row.
    I won’t take credit…I read this tip. But it minimizes cursing over the knitting.

  38. I recently became a Dr. Who fan and just had to mention that I appreciate the reference in today’s post!

  39. Do not tink! If you’ve done something different that consistantly, it’s no longer a “mistake”. It’s now a “Design Option”!

  40. If those smocking stitches were supposed to be worked on the right-side rows, you’d remember to do them. Your brain, like mine, expects wrong-side rows to be the time to relax and just purl. Which is why I think twice before embarking on stitch patterns that don’t have a plain row between each elaborate row. . .

  41. Omigosh, this made me laugh so hard — and remember the first (and so far only) shawl I made, which was mostly stockinette with the occasional reverse stockinette row, until you got to the lace border. I kept making mistakes and ending up reversing, so I was knitting when I should have been purling and vice versa. I can’t tell you how many times I had to pull out three or four or even eight rows. . . and when I got to the lace, it was even worse.

  42. See? I said something would happen. Have you ever completed a knitting project where everything went perfectly? I don’t think such projects exist. I’ve been working on a sock for a year. It is now called the Cursed Sock. It’s my own simple pattern. I don’t want to think about all the times I ripped it back to nothing just when I was nearing the end. Knitting can be masochistic at times.

  43. I was lucky enough to meet Barbara Walker. What a wonderful and gracious lady!
    I felt like I was speaking with royalty and she was so nice.
    I’ll always remember it.

  44. I really like it, whatever you’re doing to it. It’s just what a baby blanket should be-delicate and intricate, just like the baby. A miracle of human engineering.

  45. Oh, dear. If I’m understanding correctly, you are actually knitting 1/3 more than you have to. For each Pearl (aka a Stephanie Purl) row, you are purling across, tinking all the way back, and then purling-with-extra-bits across again. I definitely count tinking as working across a row, even if it is both slower and removing yarn instead of adding yarn; it’s a manipulation of yarn using knitting needles.
    The math: each 12 row repeat actually contains 16 worked rows. 16 divided by 12 equals 1 1/3.
    I bet you figure something out to restore your usual knitting efficiency. Besides frogging or binning. Oh, the blanket is beautiful and I love that modified BW stitch.

  46. There are times when I’m knitting something, usually something large on small needles with either lace or fingering weight, when I can almost take it for granted that most of it will have to be tinked. I am now at peace with the idea. I do believe that the end product will just mean that much more. The yarn is sometimes so crinkled from previous stitches that the outcome is even more interesting than expected. I don’t like knowing that I am likely to make mistakes, and that the project is going to take three times longer than I thought, but it does nothing to diminish my love of just plain knitting.

  47. It’s probably because you knit so fast that by the time your brain reacts to what your hands are doing, your hands are already done with the row and going all ” HA HA BRAIN!! GOT YOU AGAIN!!!”
    It’s looking gorgeous 🙂

  48. Hmmm…like this should not happen every project ever? Is not normal to have lapses during plain garter stitch patterns that have every 4th row wraps – oy. Note to self – pay attention while watching sports….

  49. I’ve got the same suggestion as Leslie F at 8:34. I use a “chain” of stitch markers hooked together, each a different color. Each time you pass by the stitch marker chain, you slip the chain — but move it to have the next marker in the chain on the needle. On those rows in which I need to wake up and do something different, I make sure I use my favorite colored stitch markers.
    ‘Course I COULD stop and count rows … but I often fail at counting small numbers. And really: I’d rather just keep knitting away as opposed to spending what would seem to be half my time counting.

  50. My most recent smack-myself-in-the-head: I am knitting a little cotton washcloth, double lace rib is the name of the stitch, and I could not figure out why what was on my needles was not looking at all like the picture. After knitting most of it on Wednesday night I picked it up last night and realized that while the WS of the pattern clearly said p2*k1p2*, I had been doing p2*k2p2*. somehow the # of stitches let this work out, but I had kept looking at the (very simple) pattern to check what I was doing and STILL kept doing it wrong. After frogging back to my border rows and starting over, now it is almost finished and looks more like it’s supposed to, but how could I misread a row over and over?? Especially when the finished project was looking so terrible??

  51. I think there is something in knitters akin to muscle memory where we have our brain thinking the pattern is one thing because we have done something similar before but it really isn’t. It happens to me if I knit two similar stitch pattern items back to back, I try now to reset my brain with something plain or totally different eg colour work.
    On another thing I always thought charts were from America being an English knitter, so where are they from? X

  52. Do you really want to know why we all love you so much? It’s because you are not afraid to admit to doing some stupid thing that all of us have done, but keep mum about. You are braver than we are, which makes you funnier that we dare to be. Lord, you are a blessing!!!

  53. You have just brightened my day more than you could ever know – thank you, you are a knitting goddess xx

  54. Can I say that this gives me hope. Learning fair isle drove me mad. Tink became my least favorite four letter word and was often used in conjunction with several others. It is nice to know that experts also have to tink a round or two.

  55. I thought about suggesting that you put in a lifeline but decided that would really mess you up, so don’t.

  56. Happy to know that, besides being my favorite knitting humorist, you are also a Whovian!! I am looking forwards to your next book.

  57. Thank you for sharing this – I feel less foolish when I know the same thing happens to others! Also, thank you for the washcloth pattern last month. I’ve been knitting them like crazy between other projects. What a fun stitch!

  58. Sing this song every time you turn to purl. “Never ever will I purl the yo cluster yo”. Find your own tune and wording if you like. It’s the only time it happens in the pattern. And I agree, Barbara Walker is the bomb! I’ve knitted all my life and I still spend hours gushing over her books.

  59. I probably would have just knitted the purls as they faced me on the right side and then knitted that stitch according to pattern. But that’s me.

  60. It’ll be really interesting to see if this continues now that you’ve blogged about it 🙂

  61. I’m doing Walker’s Pythagorean stitch for my baby blanket project. The 4/2 knit/purl becomes 3/3 and then 2/4 and I seem to always go back to 4/2. I feel your no no not again pain.
    And I’m with Shelda at 1:13, I bet now that you’ve written it you won’t knit the error again (or at least quite so many times.)

  62. I know how this goes because I’ve done it myself. You know that saying about everything you need to know, you learned in kindergarten? Well sometimes I feel like I’m unlearning my kindergarten base. Back then, you would actually read the words and letters as they appear on the page. Unlike now, when I sometimes just continue to knit or purl in some way that “feels right.”

  63. Thank you! I’m knitting a shawl right now that has a very simple pattern, easily memorized…..I thought it would be good t.v. knitting….and I’ve tinked and reknit as much as I have knit. I’ve knit far more complicated lace patterns with far fewer mistakes. Don’t know what it is that I suddenly can’t count to eight. Thank you for making me feel I’m not alone!

  64. I am working on a baby sweater with cables, twisted stitches etc while watching the US Open Tennis, and have probably knit the thing twice but still have a left front and most of the second sleeve to complete. Can we say auto knitting when attention knitting is required?

  65. I feel your pain. It’s a good thing I’m knitting with a cotton/linen blend, because I’ve had to rip out and reknit the last three inches about 4 times now. This is because I liked the top part of the pattern, but didn’t like the bottom part so I changed it, and I don’t like my alterations so frogging I go.
    Eventually I will finish this. Eventually.

  66. Thank you. You always make me feel so much saner than I probably have a right to lay claim to.

  67. I’m sorry but I’m laughing like a loon. I feel as if you have been watching me. The last 3 years or so it has become a norm for me to use mantras or counting under my breath or some such thing. Yea I also curse. My dog thinks it funny. You’re great Steph…

  68. Hmmm, I have projects like this – so this is why it seems like a lot more knitting than I think it should be…

  69. heh. you said tardis. *geeking out*
    i’m so glad to hear that i’m not the only one that does silly things like that! but at least you’re catching it when you’re done, not 3 rows later. *eek*

  70. I’ve always wished that you could put a stitch marker on a row you haven’t knit yet, to remind you to do something special when you get there. Buttonholes are my nemesis.

  71. I’m confused by the word play of “I mean, the blanket proceeds apace, chugging along at a rather glacial pace – and I was thinking that it’s going really slowly.” Maybe I need more coffee today.

  72. Hi,
    First of all… You’re not the only one who does this. Me, too.
    What’s wrong with doing the wrappy thing on the 7th row instead. Does that look ok? Quick swatch. If it’s good, just be sure to do it every time and you have made a variation on the pattern. Another hint I’ve used. Line up 6 m&m’s on the arm of your chair and eat one at the end of every row. When they are all gone, do a wrappy row and then set up the new ones. Or do 5 and when you find none there, wrap. Or line up 2 and eat them only on beginning purl rows. No m&m? Time to wrap. Chocolate is a great motivator. The last option minimizes the caloric impact. Nuts work good for this too, especially cashews. I suppose you could use baby carrots and be healthy, but I’m going for chocolate.
    Julie in San Diego

  73. today’s post is why I read you. Thank you for having/sharing those moments and making it amusing. Scaring the cat…snorkle

  74. Oh yes oh yes oh yes.
    Been there, done that, probably not going to get a medal for it.
    Along with the ‘I can’t believe I forgot that for the nth time’ phenomenon, do you suffer from the ‘how come I did the same thing on the 2nd glove/sock/whatever and it’s come out quite differently from the first’ feature????
    The pathology of knitting …..
    Good luck with the next 20000 rows!

  75. For me, the hardest part of knitting is counting. Yes, 12 years of private school, many years of working in finance and IT, and yet, COUNTING is what gets me.
    The row counter has pretty much allowed me to circumvent my own achilles heel.

  76. How about a 3 loop marker at the end of the right side row. You know, made of yarn, that looks like OOO<. Move up a loop of the marker at each return
    row. When you run out of loops it is time to do your “thinking return” row.

  77. I can’t even begin to tell you how much better I feel having read this. I’ve done this very thing all the way through a scarf I knit for my son, and about halfway through I actually re-wrote the pattern to include the “tink back this entire row and reknit it properly” line into the instructions, because I was laughing so hard at my own obstinate inability to get it right the first time, I figured I may as well codify it for eternity.

  78. So-o-o familiar with that “shriek”.
    (Yes, it does frighten the cat and scatters the dogs!).
    Love ‘n hugs from The Blog every six rows.
    Knit ‘n Tink On!

  79. Stephanie, when your book comes out please please please come to New York when you go on tour! I loved meeting you, my boyfriend and I still talk about the experience! So I hope you do… 🙂

  80. I keep doing the same on the scarf I’m making for my nephew – and the stitch pattern is nowhere near as complex as the smocked lace, nor is it anywhere near as many stitches per row. Row four arrives and instead of knitting it, I carry on in the pattern, then have to tink back and start it again. Also, I didn’t like the way the edges were working out so after knitting seven inches of scarf I ripped it back almost to the beginning and started again. And still row four keeps tripping me up! xx

  81. I’ve been looking for a special kind of stitch marker that would solve this for me. It would be a little chain of plastic rings, with some ordering involved (e.g. white rings on one end, black on the other, or the rings would be numbered.) I’d put the 1st ring on the needle and then when I get to the end of a row switch to the 2nd ring. Finally when you get to the row of “OH RIGHT there’s something I have to remember on this row” that should be setup so that it’s the last ring in the chain.
    If I could think how to improvise this myself I would. I need it to remember when to do cable turns.

  82. You have now created a pattern of your behavior, or maybe even muscle memory. It’s like every time I go to a this one place, because I made a wrong turn getting there the first time, I make the same wrong turn every time. Good luck in undoing the brain pattern!

  83. Because the library discarded Knitting Without Tears, I ordered a used copy (they said they had only one) from Powells. It just came yesterday.

  84. I want to tell you there’s something mysterious or magical or new-agey spiritual at work here on your sixth row, but I just can’t think of what it might be. So I’ll just say the blanket is lovely and beyond price.

  85. Laughing ‘with’ you not at you.
    I just had a project that had 400% more knitting in it for the same reason.
    At first I instituted the 12 rule. As in no knitting before 12 noon or after 12 midnight. Thinking dexterity and brain power are on the clock.
    The problem persisted.
    Once I realized what was going on, I wrote myself a note regarding the impish rows ..and attached it to the offending side of the project.
    Desperate times call for desperate measures.

  86. put a row marker on your wrist or your finger, and when you get to row 6…there you go.
    You don’t see the smocking stitch, since the pattern is on the right side of the work when you’re purling, and so you purl merrily along…glub, glub, glub.
    Or you could just take a hint from row 5, that OH, next row is my smocking row.

  87. I feel so much better. I was knitting a square of “grass” which I kept ripping out and trying to get right and finally gave up, and just turned them into blades that ended into a stockinette background and it worked. It was my first foray into twisted stitches. ; )

  88. Too late for this blanket, but how would it look if you did that smocky little wrap thing on either the row before or the row after the purl row you are supposed to do it on? – just to have everything that’s ‘going on’ in the pattern on the same row. That way you can zone out on every purl row. I’ve done the cute little smock stitch but not on the backside. It’s almost like this smocking is mocking you!!

  89. I am working on a lace pattern also. However, on the purl row, I blithely knit. Then I didn’t notice the little bump row until about 3 pattern repeats (28 rows each) later. Sunday I frogged out about 20 hours work and then spent 4 hours trying to find where I was in the pattern. Knitting is a harsh mistress.

  90. i love the TARDIS reference and can so relate to this posting. i am almost finished with the 2nd blanket for my twin grandsons. having to correct a mistake after 160 stitches made me crazy several times. now, if i find a mistake in a finished item, i can just tell my family it’s a time lord thing!
    really looking forward to your next book!

  91. I was just thinking if we think WE have it hard getting things right….imagine what this unsuspecting little scrap of humanity is facing in terms of learning everything he/she needs to learn by repeated trial and error!
    I guess if we knew ahead of time what was facing us we’d stay in the warm, dark cave of Mommy.

  92. Might you take a highlighter to your row counter, so you know that row#6 each time is special?
    We need knitting counters with push notifications – like the “time to send a birthday card to [insert name of relative here]” ones you get from the greeting cards folks online 🙂

  93. From the bottom of my advanced beginner knitter heart…thank you for that post! Feel much better now about my plain stitch afghan squares. 😉

  94. I had left the computer with this window up. Soon I heard my husband say to my son. “Marc, listen to this-‘It’s sort of like a Tardis.’ It’s something Mom is reading.” Then to me-“Do you know what a Tardis is?” Yes, I know what a Tardis is. It’s a knitting term for those times you have to knit 30 rows to get 20 done. I am right, aren’t I?? :D:D

  95. OMG! Ask my husband how many times I tinked a “simple” shawl this summer. For every hour I knit (or purled), I tinked for two! I started in mid-June, it should have been complete in July; I finally finished at the end of August (and I haven’t blocked it yet either!). It ended up being the only thing I worked on during our 4 weeks of vacation, and I took 4 other projects with me, hah! The knitting gods were toying with me. Humility is sometimes well earned :).

  96. My November Wedding shawl is in time-out. I’ve not just tinked, but have completely pulled it out 7 times. I finally put a lifeline in after the first chart (DUH! SEVEN TIMES, YA THINK??) But it’s the second ivory lace shawl this year… and it’s getting cold… and I have all this bright sock yarn just calling me from the stash room… The blue socks I just finished are for a birthday today… the green ones are for Christmas, which is after my girls wedding. Back to the cream… sigh…

  97. LOL. After getting the same row wrong for the 11th time I wrote it out, on paper, in big letters, so I could see it with and without my glasses. And guess what – got to the end and it was Wrong again. So I had some chocolate and all was right with the world – if not with my pattern!

  98. “We will pause here to reflect upon how many stitch patterns have been created exactly this way – by screwing something up.” Ha – same with dyeing yarn! Misread a recipe, and you have a whole new adventure on your hands. (Because with dyeing, there’s no tinking…)

  99. I’ll just use a piece of contrasting yarn, double it and make six knots. Start with the upper loop as a stitch marker early on the special row, move it down one loop each row, and when you reach the bottom, it’s time for the special row again.

  100. I’ve been knitting some baby blankets lately, and I’ve been praying for the babies while I knit the blankets. But I have to say, shrieking obscenities and scaring the cat is a whole lot more funny and will certainly make a more entertaining story to share as the little one grows up.

  101. Yes – I have done this!!! Astoundingly perfect black hole of knitting. Every single time, when it is time to remember, or even just follow the pattern – I don’t. Some rows have a magnetic force that preceeds them and I think it is the rows prior that create the force field. However, that blanket is enchanting.

  102. I love the candy idea, but initially read “candles”. I guess five candles to blow out, one at the end of each row, would be a calorie-free but pretty option…
    I’d totally forget to do the special purl row anyhow, and then the blanket would somehow manage to get singed on the candles.
    Anyhow, judging from the few comments I read, you’re in really good company!

  103. I am so comforted by your admission/revelation of the consistency of your having to tink every special purl row. I am making three Christmas sweaters for the male portion of my family because last year they all agreed to wear sweaters on Christmas Eve, and then I could not find any that fit. At all. Much less ones I had knit. So this year I am tackling three at once, and PERPETUALLY wreck on the same stitches every time. And I am a really good knitter and fixer of other people’s “enmessed” knitting. I understand, and embody the same keys-in-the-freezer knitting method…

  104. You make me feel so much better about my knitting! Sometimes I’ll have a traveling pattern, that is super easy, no need to carry a pattern around or anything, and I’ll find myself ripping out over and over. Oh, front rows are supposed to be knit through the backside? What? Just because I’m 90 rows in, does not mean I’m going to actually remember that every time. It’s craziness. But a good kind. I’d rather be tinking than not knitting. Every. Single. Time. Right?

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